BJT calls in support for bill

BJT calls in support for bill

Dems threaten to reject weed, hemp

The Bhumjaithai Party has asked for support from the coalition parties to help pass the Cannabis and Hemp Bill after the Democrat Party threatened to reject it.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the Bhumjaithai party leader, said yesterday the House is expected to deliberate the bill, sponsored by the Bhumjaithai Party, in its second reading next week. The government whip had already resolved that the government coalition parties would vote for the bill, but that “some coalition parties still have an unclear standpoint”.

The bill was not drafted for the recreational use of cannabis and had clear penalties against its abuse, he said.

“Today the Bhumjaithai Party has kept the promise it made to the people. That was to remove cannabis from the narcotics list … The Bhumjaithai Party is not afraid of attempts to block it from becoming more popular. I’d say that’s too late,” Mr Anutin said.

Any coalition party that breached the government whip’s decision would be seen as taking an unprecedented step, and that would affect national administration and demonstrate a lack of spirit in the coalition party, Mr Anutin said.

The issue would affect decisions on the formation of a coalition after the coming general election, he said.

The Democrat Party said yesterday that it will vote against its coalition partner’s cannabis bill because it ignores all the alterations proposed by Democrat and Pheu Thai MPs, and by the faculty of medicine of Chulalongkorn University.

Democrat MP Sathit Wongnongtoey said the committee had finished its review, but that not even one of the proposed alterations was made to the bill. The Democrat Party proposed 13 changes and the Pheu Thai Party five, while the faculty of medicine of Chulalongkorn University proposed that the bill be fully reviewed section-by-section, he said.

He said the Democrat Party’s proposals included that the committee reconsider whether cannabis was a narcotic drug, changing the definition of “medical use in households” and lifting the requirement for the Food and Drug Administration to promote the development of cannabis strains, which could contradict the agency’s responsibilities and create a conflict of interest.

Moreover, the bill still lacked controls on the trade in equipment for smoking cannabis, he said.

“Use of cannabis is undesirable in Thai society. Cannabis should be reinstated as a Category 5 substance on the list of narcotic drugs,” Mr Sathit said.

He called for the Public Health Minister to reinstate cannabis on the narcotics list, insisting the issue was not political but of social concern.